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Q&A with Restaurant 50 & York

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Click here to see more photos of 50 & York and other businesses along York Blvd.

50 & York, a new restaurant located on 5010 York Blvd., is one of the five businesses participating in the Full Dollar Collection of Contemporary Art. We sat down with owner Peter, to discuss how he's reinventing the space, how sign art is like a good vinaigrette, and his hopes for the Full Dollar project and Highland Park community.


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Can you tell us a little bit about your business and how long you have been here in Highland Park?
I took over this business two months ago and it was a mess-you couldn't tell what it was. I had to remodel a lot in the kitchen and I spray painted all the metal chairs with colorful paint, but this still isn't a place I'm in love with and I want to put a lot more work into it.

My dishes are within the $6 range, and you get a lot of food. In this economy people don't have extra cash to treat themselves, so I made a lot of deals with small local food companies to keep prices low and get choice produce and poultry. It's become a co-op in a way. If we're doing well, they'll do well.


Are you originally from Highland Park?
I was born here in California, but I grew up in Toronto. When I was eight, we came here to Eagle Rock. Later I joined the military and moved around the country a lot, but I ultimately came back here. It's very different from when I was younger-it's a big mixture of different cultures and ethnic groups now.


What role do you think sign painting plays in this community?
If it's a really nice, unique sign, it makes people want to stop and come in, or at least it creates a little buzz.

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And in your business?
I would like for a sign to create that buzz, be that attention grabber and make people want to come in, or at least talk about it. I'm not really into graffiti and murals, but I think sign painting is a great alternative. I would want my sign to display food, or something to do with the actual business to help identify what we offer. People have a negative idea of this business because of how it used to be, and I just want people to know we've changed.


What do you think about the relationship between advertising and art?
I think you can't do effective advertising without artistry. It's like trying to make a vinaigrette without vinegar and oil. When you put them together it makes a great combination. Art and advertising go hand in hand. You can't do one without the other.


What do you visualize for your businesses' sign?
I'd like a sign that makes the building look nicer, so people notice, and some interest is created.

"I think you can't do effective advertising without artistry. It's like trying to make a vinaigrette without vinegar and oil."

What do you envision the Full Dollar project being for your business?
I'm hoping that it doesn't just affect my business, but the community as well. For awhile I lived in a tight-knit community in Missouri where everybody helped each other, and when I came back here I missed that. I would love to live in that kind of an environment again, and it seems like this area is becoming more and more like that. So if this project can help create that, I'm in.

When we had the meeting here about planning a park on York Blvd and Ave 50, that was ideal for what I want this place to be. It was perfect, I got this warm and fuzzy feeling! People can come and just sit and jump on the computer. People don't have to eat here if they just want to hang out-it can be a gathering spot for the community.

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